Thursday, September 25, 2014

Getting Schooled

So the kids have been in school for between five and six weeks, but technically less with days off, holidays, etc. I am telling you...I am in AWE of the academic progress they have made in that short amount of time. Blown away.

Anderson...he knows all of his letters and their sounds, as well as how to write them correctly. His memory is a gift; he can remember most anything for an unlimited amount of time.  His teachers use a verbal path for letter-writing, meaning that they say the exact same thing every time they write a letter. For example, when they write a capital M, they say " straight down, slant down, slant up, straight down".  He has them ALL memorized. His handwriting isn't half bad, either.  He can write letters on command, meaning if I tell him how to spell them, he can write words. He loves practicing his writing and pretending to be his teacher. He does read-alouds at home, which consist of him questioning his "class" and reprimanding them when they talk while he is talking. He loves to talk about "disrespect" and "disobeying", and getting "oops notes" when someone is bad. He can also write and identify his numbers through 10 (something he could NOT do before school, for sure), and knows how to put two single-digit quantities together to make a bigger number, like two and three make five. He knows words like characters and illustrator, and states on a daily basis that "Mr. Katte's office is no place for me!" (the principal...). All in all, it's fair to say that he is really, really enjoying school. I am absolutely amazed at how he has handled the transition, and how much he is enjoying learning.  I do have to say, though, that as I anticipated, anything that requires work beyond literal or memorized skills is difficult for him.  Part of their homework each night is that we have to read together, and log our books on their reading logs.  Being the teacher mom that I am, I of course am not just going to read; I am going to ask all of the many types of comprehension questions.  Here is a snippet of my questioning of Anderson two nights ago:

Me (reading aloud): "The big boat said, 'Thanks, Joe!'  Anderson, what did the big boat say?"
Anderson:  "Uhhhhh...he said he wanted to float?"
Me (reading aloud again): "Listen...The big boat said, 'Thanks, Joe!'  What did the big boat say?"
Anderson:  Uhhh...he said he wanted to go home?"
Me (reading louder): "LISTEN...The big boat SAID,'THANKS, JOE!' WHAT did the big boat say?"
Anderson: "Thanks???"

Shew. We have some work to do, there.  Good thing I'm professionally trained. :-)

Amelia has also learned so much.  She already knew letters and sounds and numbers and all that jazz, but she's learned quite a few sight words and lots of content information. The other day, I asked her if she did reading groups. You know, because I'm nosy about what other schools do in kindergarten.  Her response surprised me; she said, "Yep! Sure do! I go to journal, then Mrs. Smith, then phonics, then ABCs, then Ms. Lundgren!"  She has her group/center rotation memorized already!  So, I asked her what she wrote in her journal. She proudly said, "My opinion!" I was totally blown away. As stupid as it is, because I work with the standards pretty much every single day and have most of them at least partially memorized, I never thought about MY kids learning the standards.  You Fayette County people following the pacing guides for ELA standards know that the first writing piece is an opinion piece. I couldn't believe it. Not only did she know what an opinion was, she was able to tell me about what she wrote. I cannot believe my daughter is WRITING.

So, all in all, school has just gone so much better than expected.  I'm thrilled.  Coming up next in our lives: Anderson starts private swim lessons. That's going to be interesting.

Next post will be all about the wedding that the kids were in this past weekend. It was a whirlwind of a few days, but it was unbelieveable. They did great and we all had a truly fabulous time. Can't wait to share.

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